Lyn has her first session with the Vanguard's new shrink, and it happens to be her old shrink.
Location: Vanguard -- Dr. Anders Office
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1089
Word travels fast on a small ship in wartime. And the word is that there's a new face on board, and he's already taking appointments. There isn't exactly a room set aside on board for a psychiatrist's office, but there's a small room not far from Sick Bay that has been loaned, at least for the current moment. And the doctor is in, already filling out some paperwork on a clipboard.
Lyn signed up to be seen by this Doctor Anders, not in a million years thinking it would be the very same Dr. Anders that treated her two years ago, after Aquaria fell and she stayed one long week before being retrieved from the final SAR on that lost planet. She failed her Fit For Duty evaluation, and spent 6 weeks in treatment with the good doctor. She steps through the hatch, knocking on the bulkhead wall. "Doctor Anders?" she asks.
"Yes, come in," Kamran invites. He is soft-spoken by nature, that much has not changed about him, though the beard is a more recent development. When he looks up from his clipboard to see Lyn, he blinks brown eyes several times. "Oh," he says. "It's Arda, isn't it?"
Lyn freezes when he looks up, eyes focusing on the familiar visage. The beard throws her for a moment but the voice confirms it's the same man. "Oh, yeah. I wasn't expecting it to be you, Doc. I don't know if you remember me. I was in treatment in the Libran fleet with you a couple years ago."
"Yes," Kamran answers, with just a faint smile at the edges of his expression. "I remember you. I hadn't expected to encounter any familiar faces. But it's nice to see you." He gestures to the chair in the room. "Why don't you take a seat? What brings you in, if you don't mind me asking directly?"
Lyn takes a seat in the chair awkwardly, looking around the room. It is nowhere near as nice as his old office. She swallows. "Ah, well, I've been here with the Wolves for a couple months now, but a few weeks ago, he showed up, assigned here." She looks back and Anders with a grimace. "My ex. Jonas Ingvar." She lets that sink in to see if he remembers.
"Another coincidence," Kamran observes mildly. He usually maintains a fairly even keel while in sessions, so as not to add to anyone's distress, or influence answers. "And how did that affect you?"
"I didn't handle it very well. There was screaming, and then heavy drinking, nearly burning down the galley, more screaming, a lot of crying, running away about a dozen times. Oh and then we had shore leave on Scorpia and I found a photo of my dead father in an Aquaria-themed bar. That didn't help." She has always blamed herself for her father's death, because she was scheduled to attend the conference in Heim for evaluation to moving from the enlisted track into officer training. She fought with him, and he went instead so she could stay with her boyfriend. As she's still just a Sergeant, she has clearly still been sabotaging herself in that regard. "Oh and he also dropped the bomb on me that he and my father were in cahoots for him to propose. He threw the ring in my face here."
Kamran listens to this without any clear facial reaction, making some notes on his clipboard. "Now, the last time you saw him was two years ago?" he asks. "After your shock in seeing him, why did you go to an Aquaria-themed bar?" is his next inquiry, dark brows lifting lightly. "Did you want to be reminded of that time?"
"Yeah, two years. I never contacted him, I was afraid to. I couldn't find his family down on Aquaria. And by the time I got out of treatment, my brother told me he was furious about me abandoning him when he needed me the most. So I ran away basically. I wasn't...I wasn't in my right mind then, Doc. I buried myself in the job, killing toasters." She wrings her hands, looking incredibly uncomfortable. "I went to the bar because someone told me my dad's photo was there, and I needed to see it. I just needed to. I miss him. I miss Jonas so much it hurts. He's moved on, already has some cute little young blonde Picon girl on his arm and in his bunk. I can't seem to move on though. Even the thought of trying makes me feel ill." At least she's talking this time around. Last time, she was shell-shocked and clearly in the grasp of PTSD.
"So," Kamran replies, "You said it didn't help, but it wasn't a surprise that you saw it." He nods a little. "Do you feel assured that Jonas has moved on, even though he brought up a planned proposal to you? Or do you have some suspicion or hope that he hasn't?"
"Part of me can't seem to let go of any shred of hope. Anytime he comes to talk to me, or brings up a story about us in my presence, something flickers to life inside me. Then he snuffs it out as coldly as he can manage, telling me I'm not the person he loved anymore, and that he can't go back." Lyn looks devastated about it and she curls her legs under her on the chair, making herself smaller. "I don't know how to move on. How do people do this? Every time I even consider maybe asking a nice guy out, I freak out inside about how I don't deserve them. Is there a magic pill? Hypnosis maybe? To fix this?" she pleads.
"Magic pills would save me a lot of time," Kamran says with a wry, closed-lipped smile developing gently across his face. "But to me it sounds like you are struggling with two separate problems, though they may be related. One is your remaining feelings for this man, and the other is what you just said, this idea that you wouldn't deserve a 'nice guy.' You said that Jonas is cold to you, cruel. That he threw a ring in your face and unnecessarily reminded you of plans he had made with your late father to marry you. Do you feel that this treatment is all right?"
"I hurt him so badly. I disappeared on him, never contacted him. I failed to find his family. I paid someone to knock him out during the initial evacuation so he wouldn't risk his life coming with me." Lyn shrugs and wraps her arms around herself. "Don't I deserve all that? If I'd just told him the truth." Of course, he didn't tell her the truth either, or she might have stayed. For that matter, her brother and mother knew how to contact her so why didn't he contact them? She just doesn't seem to see any fault in this but her own.
"Have you made him an apology?" Kamran asks. "Told him about your regrets?" He looks up from his clipboard, eyes following Lyn's protective body language.
"I did, in writing and face to face. A few times, actually. I don't think he's capable of forgiving me. He says he wants me to move on, but it feels like he just wants to not need to worry about me so he can enjoy his new life without me," Lyn says quietly, looking anywhere but the doctor.
Kamran tilts his head slightly at Lyn. "But you feel you still deserve some sort of punishment," he gathers. "You don't think making an apology and communicating your honest feelings is enough." He nodes his head once or twice. "Let's try this. Imagine the positions were reversed. If Jonas had been placed in your position, and done the things you had done, and you had done the things he had done, would you want him to be suffering two years later?"
"No, of course not!" Lyn exclaims. "I just want him to be happy. That's all. But it's so hard not to feel like my insides are being yanked out every time I realize that his happiness can't be with me. Someone else will be his wife, the mother of his kids, the person he confides in and cherishes. And I have nothing. And the clock is ticking for me for any of that happily every after bullshit." She grimaces. "Sorry for cursing."
Kamran smiles again. "Oh, don't worry," he says. "They teach you all the bad words in med school." But now back to the seriousness: "Before we get to your sadness at being apart from him, I still want to address this idea of your 'deserving' cold treatment or 'not deserving' to meet a man who might be nice to you. Why do you judge yourself more harshly than you would judge him? Why do you want less for yourself than you would want for anyone else in the same situation?"
Lyn looks down and she runs a hand through her hair. It takes her a long time, and a tightly clenched jaw, to finally come to an answer. "Because I'm the reason my father died. It should have been me. It was supposed to be me. If it had been me, my father would be fighting this war, and he'd be much better at it than I am, much more valuable to humanity."
"Lyn," Kamran says softly, "This is...a turbulent time. The feelings that you're having are not uncommon. Do you know that? When someone suddenly dies, it can be important for our minds to find a reason, a meaning behind that loss so that we can grasp it and understand it. And, unfortunately, the mind often makes a connection between the self and tragedy. You yourself become a way to explain, to create meaning in what happened. If there's no other perpetrator you can immediately confront, it's natural to start confronting yourself, to treat yourself as the enemy. But that usually doesn't help make things better. Do you think your father would have wanted to see you punishing yourself?"
That makes Lyn stiffen as the words hit her hard. "I, I don't know, Doc. I don't think he would but that's because he was my father. And he loved me. Jonas supposedly loved me, but he can't forgive me, so maybe Dad couldn't either?"
Kamran narrows his eyes searchingly and smiles at Lyn. "Do you think that Jonas might be treating you coldly in order to assuage his own sense of guilt?" he asks. "For all the things that /he/ thinks he should have done, but didn't?"
"Then why am I in this chair, considering a transfer, instead of him?" Lyn asks, a little snappishly. "Sorry, I'm just, I haven't been sleeping so well, and I'm always on edge, expecting to run into them around every corner and needing to put on a neutral face about it." She keeps avoiding meeting his eyes. It makes saying these things tougher.
Kamran doesn't seem put out. He writes something down. "You're here, I think, because you would like to find an alternative to that transfer, if you can. And I would like you to find it, as well. It's not possible for you to control what Jonas thinks or what he feels. But I think it is possible for you to start treating yourself with the same kindness, forgiveness, and understanding that you would treat someone else in the same position with."
Lyn lets out a breath. "Easier said than done, Doc. But I'll try. Anything else? I have duties in a few."
"I know that it is," Kamran acknowledges, giving a nod. "But you don't have to do perfectly right away. You just have to keep asking yourself, 'Am I treating myself more harshly than I would treat even a stranger? If I'm doing that, why am I doing that? What am I hoping that accepting punishments on myself will accomplish?' I think you should come and see me again soon. If you're not sleeping well, I want to talk about that."
Lyn rises, nodding to Kamran with a wan smile. "All right, Doc. I'll pencil you into my busy social schedule," she says. With that she gives him a salute. "Thank you, sir." Then she heads out.